With the half-a-billion-dollar Ballarat Line Upgrade in full swing, work on the rest of the $1.75 billion Regional Rail Revival is set to expand across the state with a major package of works out to market.
Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack and Victorian Minster for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan today announced contractors would be sought to deliver major upgrades on three regional rail lines.
Mr McCormack said the Ballarat line’s transformation is the first Regional Rail Revival project to get underway and similar upgrades would soon be replicated on other regional lines across Victoria.
“I’m delighted to announce we’re seeking Expressions of Interest to design and build the bulk of the Gippsland Line Upgrade, Shepparton Line Upgrade, and Bendigo and Echuca Line Upgrade,” he said.
“Packaging these projects together will mean works on these crucial regional upgrades can get underway and allows the most capable and experienced construction companies in Victoria to compete for this multi-million-dollar package of works.”
Ms Allan said more than a year of planning and design work had taken place to reach this important milestone and get these projects out to market.
“The specialist project teams at Rail Projects Victoria have undertaken extensive investigations to determine the infrastructure needed to deliver benefits to passengers on these lines,” she said.
“We’ve seen the unprecedented construction taking place along the Ballarat line, including upgrades to signalling and level crossings, crossing loops, station upgrades, duplicated track and stabling and this project is a sign of what’s to come on the Shepparton, Bendigo and Gippsland lines.
“These works mean more regional Victorians can look forward to better train services sooner.”
The Gippsland Line Upgrade scope of works has been refined and finalised following details investigations and rail operations assessments by Rail Projects Victoria in the past year.
The project will include upgrading signalling, duplicating track, extending a crossing loop, adding platforms at four stations, a stabling facility, modernising train detection at level crossings and renewing the drainage structures underneath the rail to deliver huge benefits for passengers.
These upgrades will enable more frequent services for Gippsland passengers, boost safety for motorists and train passengers, and improve the line’s ongoing reliability and resilience issues.
Stage two of the Victorian Government-funded Shepparton Line Upgrade includes platform extensions and stabling to suit VLocity trains, level crossing upgrades and an extension of the Murchison East crossing loop, all of which will enable VLocity trains to travel to and from Shepparton for the first time.
This project will be delivered in stages, with the VLocity trains enabled as part of works on stage two, while work to enable nine return services will be part of a future stage three, with a business case currently under development.
“The Shepparton line is an important part of our network, which is why we’re getting on with the work while we continue planning to deliver even more benefits for passengers,” Ms Allan said.
“Passengers are already reaping the benefits of our investment in the Shepparton line, with 10 weekly services to be introduced on the line on Monday thanks to work on stage one of the project.”
The contract also includes signalling upgrades from Bendigo to Epsom and Eaglehawk, to enable Bendigo Metro Stage 2 and give passengers in the City of Greater Bendigo a metro-style train service.
Planning and site investigations across the three lines are already well underway, with construction to begin as early as next year.
Construction on the Gippsland-Shepparton-Bendigo package of works is targeted for completion in 2022, subject to planning and environmental approvals.
The $1.75 billion Regional Rail Revival program, funded by the Victorian and Australian governments, will upgrade every passenger line in Victoria and will create more than 1000 jobs.
More information about the Regional Rail Revival is available at regionalrailrevival.vic.gov.au